…in which I share what I’m loving right now at this very moment with y’all. Enjoy.
Anyone who has ever done it knows that giving feels so much better than receiving. Giving your money, time, or attention confers a sense of purpose upon you; of making a difference in the world. It allows you to exist on a higher frequency. It makes you feel like a rockstar.
There are a million ways to give back. Here are three.
We’ve all watched a TED Talk or two. Perhaps you’ve been affected by one so dramatically that you wouldn’t shut up about it for weeks. You watched it over and over, feeling the shift in your worldview each time as your brain cracked open and light poured in. If you are particularly self-aware, you may have even felt a sense of gratitude, as though the speaker had given you a gift. Why not return the favor?
The ultimate gift any of us can give: our time. Because we all get the same number of hours in a day, giving it away is available to anyone who chooses to do so. Whether you care about animals, art, or autos, VolunteerMatch has a gig for you. Some are a single day, some are ongoing. Some are online, others are in person. All will leave you feeling like the most awesome version of yourself.
It couldn’t be any simpler: being there for someone in struggle can make a huge difference in both their life and in yours. I am usually on the reaching out side of the equation. So last fall when I went through four traumatic losses in six weeks, I didn’t quite know what to do with it. My brain and body — usually calm and very much under my control — suddenly did whatever the hell they wanted leaving me to behave, er… rather erratically: lashing out, going silent, pouting, blaming, and generally behaving like someone in a lot of pain. Because, um, I was in a lot of pain.
I also found out exactly who my real friends were. These people reached out to ask whether I was okay, fully aware no part of that answer was yes. As soon as I said not…(*sniffle*)…really, they were pulling me into gorilla hugs, pouring me a glass of wine, and quietly listening while I ranted and cried and purged every last bit of suffering. It was messy, undignified, and embarrassing.
The benefit to me of having a forum to clear out that messiness was that I felt better. The benefit for them was that they each got to feel like awesome people who save their friends, and they get to feel it forever. This is the power of giving your attention.
At the opposite end of the spectrum was the oblivious jackass who was “too busy” to notice what I was going through and kicked me out of his life because I was not being 100% perky all the time, which was apparently inconvenient for him. Which leads us to the important question:
Which person would you rather be, the one who gives their time or the one who hoards it?
It’s simple: never be “too busy” for those who need you. Even if the person tells you to buzz off, they secretly feel better knowing someone cares. I promise.
~ • ~
I give a lot to causes and people that matter to me. I do it because when the call goes out, someone needs to step up.
…And because I don’t want to be the kind of person who assumes someone else will pick up the slack while I roll over and go back to sleep.
…And because when I participate in a beach clean up or fund a kids’ art program or make time for a friend who needs me, I feel like a rockstar.
Try it. It’s amazing.